Happy Cozy Friday (Fredagsmys)





This is a re-post from last year, but it bears repeating on this 23 degree February day. Most of my friends and relations live in places like Nashville and Charlotte and Houston, where it’s in the 80s right now, so if you find yourself in a place where you are getting enough vitamin D for the day from 3 minutes of sunlight exposure and where you are wearing flip flops, please ignore this. But if you, like us, are still 3 months away from weather like that, here’s a good tradition to do on Fridays. (I suppose you could still do something similar even if you live in a more temperate climate, because it’s fun to have a Friday tradition. We’ve been doing this for over a year now, and it’s become one of our favorite parts of the week.)

Our Fredagsys is going to be (post kids in bed) a big bowl of popcorn & Victoria (because John is awesome and generously lets us watch the shows I want to watch, which tend to take place in England and involve more drinking of tea and fancy dresses than he would probably prefer. Thank you, sweetie.)  Hope you all stay cozy today & can treat yourselves and others with as much gentleness and generosity and warmth as possible in these cold days.

More about Cozy Friday from a post I wrote last year:

I read about the notion of Fredagsmys in this blog post from A Cup of Jo about parenting in Sweden.  The word basically means “Cozy Friday,” and it pretty much captures my feelings about Friday nights.  I just didn’t think there was a good word, let alone an entire cultural phenomenon, that celebrated it. So, as far as I can tell, in Sweden people curl up with lots of potato chips (ok, a little weird, but ok), huddle under blankets, watch movies, and just spend quality time with the fam. Amazing. We’re not at a movie-watching point in our kids’ lives quite yet, but we are all about getting cozy on Fridays. We sometimes make a pizza all together (Will is obsessed with cutting things with his little knife, plus I think there must have been a Daniel Tiger episode about making pizzas, because he knows ALL ABOUT IT), and sometimes pancakes or waffles. Or something else easy and cozy. Now that the days are getting shorter and the weather colder we are going to do it up for Fredagsmys. Some ideas for getting cozy on Fridays:


DSC_03511. Do a super fast pick-up with the kids late in the afternoon to get ready

2. put Christmas music on (or this album). or whatever music makes you happy.

3. Put on pjs and a robe and slippers or thick wool socks

4. If you have a fireplace, make a fire!

5. Or if not light as many candles as possible

6. turn off and put away all the phones/ipods/ipads/computers/devices (for real)

7. Invite friends over and order cheap pizza

8. Or get some pizza dough from trader joes and cook your own

9. Or make a big pot of chili or soup earlier in the day to have ready for dinner

10. Use paper plates, bowls, etc.!

11. Make a big pile of all the pillows and blankets you can find and curl up with the kids and read

12. Make hot chocolate for everyone

13. Or cider and drink it through cinnamon sticks like straws

14. Or some good hot herbal tea in special mugs

15. Bake cinnamon rolls (from the can, obviously– Cozy Friday is all about No Dishes)

16. Play board games!

17. Family camp out in sleeping bags in the living room (or wherever)

18. Family read-aloud of whatever awesome book you’re reading

19. Watch a movie or show (we try to not watch much during the week so Friday is our night to binge on episodes of the West Wing or Chefs Table)

20. Pancakes for dinner (with sausage or eggs)

21. make popcorn on the stove. (it’s easy, I promise) or in the microwave. or over a fire pit. or whatever. sprinkle with salt, garlic powder, and nutritional yeast. or check out these 30 awesome toppings.

Happy Cozy Friday, y’all! (And if anyone has other good ideas for making Friday nights cozy and special I’d love to hear! read here for more about a similar concept in Denmark: Hygge)

Happy Father’s Day to Him & so on


Almost a year ago today you straddled the bathtub next to me and caught our baby girl. The paramedic rushed in and gave you a blade and your cut her cord with your own two hands. I know you didn’t believe I was really in labor until she was literally on her way out, but you did a beautiful job nonetheless.

This has been an exhausting year: potty training the toddler, moving, job stuff. Lots of bath times and cleaning food off of small people’s faces and hands (jam hands!). Lots of laundry and diaper changes and sweeping floors. Car repairs and shoveling snow and taking the trash out, over and over and over.

Thank you for being a hero to all three of us in the midst of the hectic and mundane. For reminding me to slow down and enjoy the little in-between moments. For taking Will on adventures. For inventing beautiful and curious games to play with him. For all the stories you read and music you play. For all your patience and goodness. For planting that little mint yesterday on top of everything else. I can’t believe I get to do this whole crazy life with you. Happy Father’s Day, sweetie.

(And a very happy day to our dads, too. We love you each so much. Thank you for everything.)

Don’t Forget The Flowers Someday

John has been taking Will on a lot of walks lately.  Sometimes they return with Will covered in dirt and leaves and carrying a stick in his chubby fingers (which makes me very happy, for the record– the more dirt the better, I say). Two days ago they came home with this:

DSC_0671 DSC_0680 DSC_0679p.s.– Only one year after Will was born we’ve finally started “decorating” his nursery.  More on that (and how buying one curtain panel from Target took me over a year to buy) soon!


A Pearl from a Clam


So John spent about 5 hours yesterday making a pot of this incredible Manhattan clam chowder for me for Valentine’s Day. I’m telling you, there were real clams and chopped and diced onions, peppers, carrots, tomatoes, celery, garlic, and about 6 different kinds of herbs, and bacon, all of which he prepared very neatly beforehand (while also watching Will) and arranged into little bowls according to when each type of thing would need to be added. (I was working yesterday afternoon and came home to find him with this perfect mise en place situation, and I asked him if that’s what he had been doing, and he was like, “I have no idea what you’re talking about, it just made sense.” This man. He also bought me two candles from anthropologie for the occasion, but I didn’t want to turn this into a whole thing about how my husband is the best ever, so I’ll just stop with that. Except he also whipped us up some omelets this morning and asked me if I knew that Valentine’s Day was actually 3 days long, and that we were on day 2 today. Ok, I’m done.)



Anyway, back to last night.  Will fell asleep like the little sack of sugar that he is at 6:15 and we watched an episode of the West Wing while we waited for the soup to finish.  It did, and we sat down and ate, and it was of course completely delicious in that way that food often is when it has more than 3 ingredients, which is not something we see around here very often. So we were eating and talking about life and enjoying the Trader Joe’s vinho verde when John suddenly shouted out with pain, pulled a chunk of clam out of his mouth, and from that piece of clam….. pulled out……….. I am not kidding you…………… a pearl. 


True story. I didn’t think clams even made pearls, but as it turns out they do. And they are more rare than pearls from oysters.  It kind of looks like a BB pellet, and I am still a little skeptical, but by golly I am taking this pearl to the jewelers and having them make me a little necklace or ring out of it.  When I told John this plan, he said in a very irritated tone and I quote, “Maybe in 50 years you can make a ring out of it. I’m not paying to have that done right now.” End quote.


Also, I’m keeping it in this little box along with two treasures of mine from childhood, a little pitcher from a tea set I played with at my granny Laurie’s house when I was tiny, and this strange fertility goddess and baby that I fashioned out of clay at age 6 or 7. That is all.



What He Cooked



For Valentine’s Day (we decided beforehand not to spend any money) John cooked us some venison bacon burgers, complete with fried onion rings, sauteed radish sprouts, cheese and mayo, trying to recreate an amazing burger we had at this farm to table restaurant awhile back. I don’t know how he did it, but this burger surpassed Hazelnut Kitchen’s by a long shot.  It was incredible.  Pregnancy food heaven.  With a side of roasted potatoes and some kombucha in wine glasses, it was a perfect dinner.  My husband is the most amazing man ever.

I roasted some squashes last night and now the roasted flesh is simmering on the stove.  I’m going to make a soup like this one.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.  I also have some bread to bake for a gathering tonight, and cookies to bake for church tomorrow, so it’s going to be a good cozy afternoon of flour and the warm oven and eating little pinches of batter.  John’s washing a kitchen full of dishes for me right now, and the baby is kicking up a storm.

the marriage will take place in Jerusalem

I’m re-posting this quotation from a beautiful book by Elie Wiesel, Souls on Fire: Portraits and Legends of Hasidic Masters. I’ve been too busy the past couple of weeks to do much cooking or photography or writing or thinking, so this is just a quotation, but it’s a good one.  It’s from a story about Rebbe Levi-Yitzhak, who was drawing up his son’s engagement contract:

“The scribe had specified that the marriage was to take place on a certain date in Berditchev.  Levi Yitzhak furiously tore the contract to shreds: ‘Berditchev? Why Berditchev? This is what you will write: “The marriage will take place on such a date in Jerusalem, except if the Messiah has not yet come; in which case the ceremony will be performed in Berditchev.””

If that doesn’t make you want to weep like a baby, I don’t know what will.

Constraint and Consent, Career and Motherhood

Great article called “Constraint and Consent, Career and Motherhood” that investigates the popular notions of “balance” and “having it all” in women’s lives, which are (like all lives) bound by “intrinsic constraints.”  What does it mean to live faithfully in the midst of those constraints?  Here’s an excerpt:

“In her essay ‘Paying Attention To The Sky,’ the late French philosopher Simone Weil writes, ‘the effective part of [our] will is not effort, which is directed toward the future.  It is consent…’ And for women, Christian women in particular, seeking to make sense of what can at times feel like incongruent callings, longings, or responsibilities, coming to understand our lives in terms of willful and intentional consent is far more sustainable than it is to orient our lives around perpetual striving or greater efforts to ‘balance.’ ”

Would love to hear people’s thoughts about this.

Lavender, and What I Eat When John is Gone

I went to the Tuesday farmers’ market downtown for the first time this week, and it was wonderful.  A lot less crowded than the Saturday market.  One man was selling blueberries– the first ones of the season, he told me.  I bought a half pint basket of them and ate them sitting on a bench.  The flower lady was there, with the bunches of lavender, so I bought one of them.

John (gratuitous photo above) is out of town for work, and yesterday I ate an enormous bowl of pasta (Barilla Plus!) with butter and garlic and a few slivers of some real parmesan.  And possibly also a dollop of heavy cream.  Today I will probably be less lazy and actually make alfredo sauce.  Because when John is out of town I drown my sorrow* in bowls of pasta.

* So I drown my sorrows a little in pasta, but I do also believe that the deep, insatiable, aching hunger of the depths of my soul is a hunger for something beyond food— and beyond John, for that matter– but somehow also encompassing food and John.

The Fish He Caught

John caught these beautiful bass a few days ago and fixed one of them up for dinner that very night.  Isn’t he so handsome?!  He cooked it himself, and it was delicious.

And then I made some fish stock out of the skin and bones.  It turned into a beautiful gelatinous blob in the fridge, which really freaked John out.  So my little jar of fish stock is biding its time in the freezer until one lovely day when I will make some kind of fish soup.

John took the day off, and we spent most of it on the couch watching The West Wing.  It’s about 70 degrees today, and it feels like fall.